Another Horrible Idea From the Inexhaustible Genius, Frank Lasee

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From the legislator who brought the great state of Wisconsin a plan to arm teachers with guns in an effort to curb school violence (you all remember his hilarious appearance on the Daily Show about 2 years ago’€¦), comes another idea worthy of all kinds of jokes and ridicule ‘€“ lifting a ban on drilling for oil in the Great Lakes.

Could his new push for drilling in the Great Lakes be motivated by John McCain’€™s most recent visit to Racine? McCain said he would support drilling in the Great Lakes if the states supported the idea. Is it any wonder McCain wants to allow Big Oil to drill where ever they want? He’€™s got at least 29 lobbyists working or raising money for his campaign that have lobbied for Big Oil. Shocker.

As part of the obstructionist conservatives in the State Assembly that held up the Great Lakes Compact for so long, is any one surprised that Rep. Lasee is leading the effort to allow oil companies access to our most precious resource?

Frank says he thinks Lake Superior could be harboring Texas Tea’€”and while that may be true, a retired UW-Superior Petroleum Geologist says the hard rock of Superior makes it a supremely bad choice for drilling.

Exactly what type of relief will this cockamamie plan bring to Wisconsinites? It will certainly take years to begin taking any sort of oil out of the Great Lakes. And why should we let Big Oil into our backyards? Big Oil’€™s been clamoring for more land to drill, and they can’€™t even fulfill the thousands of land leases that have already been granted to them by the Bush Administration. According to a report by the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee Majority Staff, the number of leases given to Big Oil to drill in the U.S has exploded in the last five years, from 3,802 to 7,561 in 2007.

Furthermore, in the last four years, the Bureau of Land Management has granted Big Oil 28,776 permits to drill on our public lands, and only 18,954 wells were drilled. Big Oil is just sitting on almost 10,000 extra permits, while regular Wisconsinites are struggling to fill our gas tanks. And what about off-shore drilling? Big Oil has the rights to over 40 million acres, and only 10.5 million are considered in production! So much for billions of tax breaks to Big Oil for ‘€œresearch and development.’€

I don’€™t have enough room here to talk about the potential for environmental catastrophe that Rep. Lasee seems all too willing to bring to our state. But what if there was a spill here? We certainly can’t depend on the Bush-appointee stacked Supreme Court to help us out—just look at the recent Supreme Court decision that drastically slashed the amount of punitive damages to be paid by Exxon to those whose lives were destroyed by the Exxon-Valdez oil spill.

Lifting the ban on drilling in the Great Lakes is a laughable proposition—similar, in fact, to much of Lasee’€™s legislative record.

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